A majority of the NFC's better teams are on byes this week, leaving some exciting AFC matchups. The Chargers and Chiefs battle for a messy division lead, the Patriots go for five straight against the Steelers, and the Browns try to take down the most surprising NFC team this year, the 49ers. Read on to see why players like Cedric Benson, Willis McGahee, and Peyton Hillis need to be riding the bench this week. 

Bye Teams: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Oakland, New York Jets, Tampa Bay


Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens (1:00 ET)
START: QB Joe Flacco 
SIT: RB Beanie Wells, RB Alfonso Smith

Joe Flacco needs a nice confidence boosting game. The Arizona Cardinals may be able to help him out with that. Did you see the numbers that Big Ben posted in last week’s match-up? In the words of Bart Scott, this Cardinals passing defense probably couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Regardless of who is starting in Arizona’s backfield, you should stay far, far away from putting either one of them in your starting lineup. They won’t do much against a tough Ravens D.


Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers (1:00 ET)
START: QB Cam Newton
SIT: RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Jonathan Stewart

If you have either one of the Panthers running backs on your team, you must have wanted to punch your computer once or twice this season. They’ve been that frustrating. One week Jonathan Stewart shows up, the next game it’s DeAngelo Williams and then sometimes, both guys do absolutely nothing. With Carolina facing a formidable run defense in Minnesota, Williams and Stewart will probably do nothing. But would you really be surprised at this point?


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (1:00 ET)
START: RB Arian Foster, RB Maurice Jones-Drew
SIT: HOU Defense

Last week, Arian Foster put up the type of numbers that will single-handedly win a matchup for owners. While we don’t expect him to post stats anywhere close, he should continue to find success either in the passing and/or running game against a tough Jacksonville defense.


Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants (1:00 ET)
START: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Brandon Marshall, NYG Defense
SIT: Any other Dolphins player

So…who’s the Dolphins’ quarterback this week? Is it Matt Moore? Or is it J.P. Losman? Does it matter? Once the Giants run up the score early, whoever is flinging the passes for Miami will probably catch Brandon Marshall for a cheap touchdown. And New York will just feed Ahmad Bradshaw (and maybe Brandon Jacobs) the ball until the clock runs out. 


New Orleans Saints @ St. Louis Rams (1:00 ET)
START: RB Darren Sproles, RB Pierre Thomas, WR Brandon Lloyd
SIT: Any other Rams player

Remember when the Saints crushed the Colts last Sunday night? This game may be part two. There’s nothing much to report here. Drew Brees will pass for a ton of yards with a couple touchdowns. The New Orleans’ running back tandem of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas will carry the ball (and the team) for the rest of the way. We wouldn’t be surprised to see each guy get 14 points or more.


Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (1:00 ET)
START: WR Nate Washington
SIT: WR Reggie Wayne

When Peyton Manning went down for the season, he took almost all of his teammates’ fantasy value with him. In a surprising turn of events, Reggie Wayne has gone from a WR1 to a guy that shouldn’t even be in your starting lineup. As for the Titans, we thought the previous performances combined with the bye week could only benefit Chris Johnson but apparently, we were dead wrong. Nowadays, CJ is a flex option at best even in a favorable matchup. You should probably roll the dice with the Tennessee running back and do a lot of praying. It may just work.


Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills (4:05 ET in Toronto)
START: TE Fred Davis
SIT: RB Ryan Torain

It’s going to be John Beck versus Ryan Fitzpatrick. Two years ago, most people didn’t think these two guys would even crack the starting lineup. How things change over time. With Santana Moss and Chris Cooley out, TE Fred Davis looks like the Redskins player to benefit the most. He will probably receive the most targets and in a thin position like tight end,Davis is a valuable asset to have at the moment.    


Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos (4:05 ET)
START: QB Matt Stafford, DET Defense
SIT: QB Tim Tebow, RB Willis McGahee

After Hell week on ESPN, we will only say this about Tebow: Despite the win last week, Tebow played extremely poor ball. Even his craftiness won’t be able to escape Detroit’s vicious pass rush. Unfortunately for Denver, a surprisingly effective McGahee does not look like he’s going to be able to play this weekend. As for Stafford, he’s still dealing with an ankle injury, but he’s expected to play and the Broncos are horrible, so he should still put up solid numbers.


New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4:15 ET)

START: Any Patriot, QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown
SIT: RB Rashard Mendenhall

The Patriots have beaten the Steelers four straight times, and we don’t expect that to change this weekend. The Patriots are coming off a bye week, and we’re not quite convinced that Pittsburgh is a legitimate contender. Four of the Steelers' wins have come against the Colts, Seahawks, Cardinals, and the Jaguars. The Pats have been horrible against the pass, but solid against the run this year, so expect the Steelers to use that to their advantage.


Cleveland Browns @ San Francisco 49ers (4:15 ET)

START: WR Michael Crabtree, RB Montario Hardesty, SF Defense
SIT: QB Alex Smith, RB Peyton Hillis, QB Colt McCoy, WR Braylon Edwards

A year ago, there would be few people outside of each respective locker room that would care about this game. Today, with Colt McCoy leading the Browns and the 49ers at a shocking 5-1, this is actually an important game. Hardesty picked up a monstrous 33 carries last game for the Browns and grounded out 95 yards. It wasn’t the greatest YPC performance, but it gives us full confidence that with Hillis still dealing with an injury, Hardesty will be reaping full benefits. Two weeks ago, Crabtree had one of the biggest games of his career with nine catches, and we see Smith using him as a consistent target from now on.


Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks (4:25 ET)

START: CIN Defense, QB Andy Dalton, RB Bernard Scott
SIT: QB Tarvaris Jackson

Even with the Bengals at 4-2, is anybody truly interested in this game? We didn’t think so. The only real excitement to watch is Dalton and A.J. Green. The Bengals will finally be without Benson this week, as he is finally serving his (only) one-game suspension. That automatically makes backup Scott a starter as a RB2 or Flex option.


Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (8:20 ET)

START: RB DeMarco Murray, WR Miles Austin, WR Dez Bryant
SIT: PHI Defense

The Eagles are allowing 124 rushing yards per game this season. Murray obviously isn’t going to have over 200 yards again, but we’re expecting something around 80-100 yards and a touchdown. It helps that Felix Jones is out again and Tashard Choice was released this week. Austin and Bryant are both healthy again this week, so make sure they’re in your lineups.


San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (MON, 8:30 ET)

START: RB Ryan Mathews
SIT: RB Jackie Battle, RB Mike Tolbert

Get this: Philp Rivers has 609 more yards and 48 more pass attempts than Matt Cassel, yet has one less touchdown (seven). Rivers looked uncharacteristic last week as he threw two late interceptions and allowed the Jets to complete a comeback victory. This is an interesting game for him, considering he had two picks in the first game against KC. You probably can’t afford to bench Rivers, but don’t expect a big game out of him. RB Mike Tolbert did not practice Friday, and it looks like he probably won’t be playing. That means Ryan Mathews will be getting an even bigger role against a Chiefs team that he scored twice on in Week 3.